In martial arts like jiu jitsu, our own self can be our best ally or worst enemy. If you’re a martial artist you’ll quickly realize the potential you have to help others through your training or harm the innocent. Whether you train for combat or self-defence, your ‘Shadow’ can be better optimized through martial arts such as MMA, BJJ, Muay Thai and many more. In this article, you will discover the reasons why martial arts is essential for discipline and improving society.
What Is ‘The Shadow’ as Carl Jung Describes?
In psychology, renowned psychologist Carl Jung describes the ‘ shadow’ as either an unconscious part of the personality that the conscious does not associate with or is unaware of. The shadow is the unknown dark side of someone’s personality.
So how does this relate to martial arts and why might it be important for you to learn about? This unknown or suppressed part of your personality can grow to become dangerous to yourself and those around you. It can often be the cause of both personal problems and social issues.
In society, the ‘shadow’ is commonly hidden but within a private place, it tends to creep out and force your conscious self to be a slave to its will. This can be shown in self-destructive behaviors. Martial arts such as jiu jitsu, boxing, muay thai etc. have been commonly known to create a sense of discipline allowing you to control your dark side.
Be aware though because ultimately it is up to you to use this discipline in constructive ways because when paired with potentially violent forms of expression like martial arts, you can be a danger to yourself and those around you.
The Dangers of ‘The Shadow’ In Martial Arts
Physical aggression is a common force that develops in those that do not know how to safely express themselves in a controlled manner. In martial arts, learning how to calmly roll in BJJ or spar in striking sports such as boxing or muay thai is essential for the longevity of your journey. Uncontrolled aggression in martial arts can be dangerous towards yourself and your training partners. This is why it’s important to seek quality instructors when you are first beginning martial arts.
The ‘shadow’ or dark side of someone’s personality can be commonly shown in stressful situations where there is no appropriate outlet to let the aggression free. This can lead to a downward spiral of rage and misery.
Martial arts isn’t the only way of taming your shadow, meditation and other stress-relieving techniques can be helpful to anyone whether you’ve trained in martial arts or have never stepped on the mats before. However, BJJ and other forms of martial arts where you can express your aggression can be a common way to allow your ‘dark side’ to be exercised.
How Martial Arts Can Train Your ‘Shadow’ To Your Advantage
If you’ve been following the Submission Shark Community Blog, you will often see the amazing benefits of BJJ for its practitioners. A calming effect on anxiety, depression and aggression can be commonly experienced. Along with many other reasons, this is why martial arts such as Brazilian jiu jitsu is important for mental health.
Have you ever felt more relaxed and gained a better sense of control in terms of your aggression and stress after a BJJ or martial arts class? If so, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to see how it’s benefited you.
Case Studies of BJJ Practitioners That Used Martial Arts To Improve Their Mental Health
Maintaining a healthy state of mind is important for every individual. If you’d like to learn more about some ways to control your stress, I’d suggest entering the flow state as well as how to structure and balance your life as a BJJ practitioner or martial artist with Nattie Boss, a Jiu Jitsu brown belt.
Here are some snippets from a few jiu jitsu practitioners that volunteered to share their story and how it has helped them:
Has jiu jitsu training benefited your mental health?
It has helped me focus and control my emotions. ~ Raina Tumminello
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu jitsu?
Jeremy helped me start my jiu-jitsu journey, I was struggling with alcoholism. He helped me find some focus and stay motivated on this journey. - Kola Shippentower
How can BJJ and martial arts help prevent bullying cases?
You learn how to defend yourself and walk through life with confidence. ~ Mikey Hothi
The Importance of Martial Arts / BJJ For Society
As you can see from the examples above, martial arts can be helpful for people coming from all backgrounds. If you are a parent or guardian, you may want to find out more about the benefits of BJJ for children. Aggression control is essential for a peaceful society.
Having a safe place with helpful leaders to guide self-development can be priceless for each community. Here is a more in-depth video of the psychology of the ‘shadow’ and the benefits of martial arts for exercising this potentially destructive personality.
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